According to recent research, babies who are born through cesarean delivery are more food allergies and asthma attacks.
Over these past twenty years, a gradual increase has been observed in the cases of asthma and allergies of children. Despite the fact that genetics play an important role in this there many other factors too including maternal obesity and past history of being susceptible to “extremely sterile” environment. One of these sterile environments includes cases of cesarean deliveries.
Erin Bell, professor of environmental health sciences, uses the word “microbiome seeding” to explain the benefits of vaginal delivery. Children born through the vagina are passed with clusters of bacteria from their mother who offers their children some protection against asthma and food allergies. Babies born by cesarean section are not able to catch these protective bacteria, Bell said.
The findings are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Bell and a graduate student Temilayo Adeyeye directed a team to make more research on this phenomenon.
This research is a part of a much larger Upstate KIDS Study. The Upstate KIDS study is working and collecting the data on the ongoing growth, motor and social development. From the 57 counties of upstate New York, a total of more than 6,000 babies born to 5,000 mothers between 2008 and 2010 have participated in the study.
As per the findings, the delivery method proved to be an important factor in making a child vulnerable to food allergies and asthma.
In the research, 6,157 infants born to 5,034 mothers in New York, excluding New York City participated. Data was compiled from New York State vital records and mothers were asked to fill questionnaires. After the birth, data of the babies for the respiratory conditions and food allergy was collected at 4, 8, 12, 24, 30 and 36 months.
On comparing the infants of 36 months of age, the authors observed what they believed; babies born by cesarean section were more prone to food allergies and asthma by two times than the babies who were vaginally born.
Mothers who are usually obese or overweight before their pregnancy and are older than 30, are more likely to go through the cesarean section for the deliverance of their baby. Further data showed that infants born via vagina were more likely to breastfed till they age one than the infants born via cesarean section.
In this study, the emergency cesarean deliveries mainly were found to be associated with wheeze and doctor-diagnosed food allergy. However, Bell asserts that still more research is needed on the grounds of further proving this point.
“We expected that planned cesarean delivery would be associated with these outcomes since babies delivered by unplanned or emergency cesarean deliveries may have some exposure to the bacteria in the birth canal. Thus, our findings for emergency cesarean deliveries were unexpected.”
“Still, evidence from this and other studies suggest that the bacteria a mother passes to her baby during vaginal delivery may serve to protect the child from developing asthma and food allergies. Though cesarean deliveries simply cannot be avoided in many cases due to the health of the mother or baby, this study provides additional data that when vaginal delivery is safe, it provides additional health benefits for the infant,” Bell explained.